Las Vegas alfresco dining: a roundup of top spots

Ana Peña, left, and Carli Medina eat lunch on the lakeside patio at Marché Bacchus on ...

Eating outside is one of the great joys of restaurant dining, but Las Vegas can get hot as blazes, and let’s not get started on the wind. Nobody wants to get scorched in a dust storm while eating a Cobb salad and sipping an iced tea.

Thankfully, many Southern Nevada restaurants have created cool, shaded outdoor spaces where dishes — and good company — can be enjoyed with just the right touch of nature. Thumbs-up for misters and sunshades.

Desert Shores is one of the most popular — and gorgeous — locales for alfresco dining. Much of that is due to elegant yet casual Marché Bacchus, a French restaurant built along the shores of shimmering Lake Louise. From the restaurant’s patio, the view is more Newport Beach than Mojave Desert, and it’s a surprising sight to first-time visitors.

“The first thing you hear is ‘wow,’ ” said restaurateur Rhonda Wyatt, who owns and operates Marché Bacchus with her husband, Jeff. The second thing you hear is ‘I don’t think I’m in Vegas.’ ”

Beyond Marché Bacchus, Lakeside Center is home to three other spaces for airy dining: quaint Buena Vista Kitchen, a nook serving Mexican cuisine; Daily Bread Bakery and Cafe with its adventurous pastries; and Americana, which offers eclectic menus.

Not far south of Lake Louise, the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa embraces the alfresco lifestyle.

“All of our casual fine dining outlets have great patio seating. We have these beautiful waterfalls,” said Perry Wiley, vice president of Food and Beverage.

That includes the extensive Hawthorne Grill and — in a super-Vegas flourish — Market Place Buffet. There’s also Jade Asian Kitchen &Noodles, where the outdoors intersect with high tech.

“Jade opens up to our patio with a nanowall,” said Wiley, referring to a sleekly sliding barrier.

Just south on Rampart Boulevard, dramatic Tivoli Village takes dining to the cobbled streets, including pasta-making Al Solito Posto, Ada’s Wine Bar and coffee-friendly Leone Café.

Summerlin is an established center for alfresco dining in Las Vegas, which is realized in Red Rock Resort’s architecture; the property offers a generous handful of outdoor dining options, including Hearthstone Kitchen &Cellar, Osteria Fiorella and T-Bones Chophouse.

Adjacent, Downtown Summerlin is the neighborhood champion when it comes to the number of options available for outdoor dining. A “short” list includes La Neta Cocina y Lounge, Jing, Makers &Finders, Lazy Dog Restaurant &Bar, Trattoria Reggiano, True Food Kitchen and Wolfgang Puck Players Locker.

Boca Park and Rampart Commons are sprinkled with alfresco-forward options, including Kona Grill, Hussong’s Mexican Grill, Honey Salt, Flower Child,

Downtown Las Vegas has become a vibrant hub for alfresco dining in recent years. Going east on Fremont Street, explorers can encounter Project BBQ at Circa, Park on Fremont, Fergusons Downtown, Peyote and Atomic Kitchen, to name a few. Other downtown eateries with shaded tables include Triple George Grill, Carson Kitchen, and 7th &Carson.

The nearby Arts District neighborhood has its own alfresco vibe with venues ranging from Casa Don Juan, Esther’s Kitchen and Soulbelly BBQ.

Then there’s the Strip, a longtime home to many al fresco-enabled establishments. For a sample of places, Carversteak, Brezza, Sinatra, Delilah, SW Steakhouse, Spago by Wolfgang Puck, Primrose, Eataly, Beerhaus, Border Grill, Mon Ami Gabi, Cabo Wabo Cantina, Alexxa’s and the Linq Promenade just scratch the surface of alfresco dining — and extreme people-watching — experiences to be had in the touristic center of the state.

From the Strip, alfresco dining extends east to the sporty Front Yard at Ellis Island, the exuberant Kassi Beach House at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and the classy Ferraro’s Ristorante.

Heading south to Green Valley Ranch Resort, Bottiglia Cucina &Enoteca welcomes sunshine and light breezes. At the same time, the District at Green Valley Ranch makes it easy to eat atmospherically at Bella Vita, Rachel’s Kitchen, PKWY Tavern, SkinnyFATS, and The Cheesecake Factory.

Lake Louise is not the only restaurant-lined body of water in town — there’s also gorgeous Lake Las Vegas. On its shores, sit down for alfresco delights at Mimi and Coco Bistro, Medici Cafe and Terrace, Le Cafe du Lac, Luna Rossa Ristorante and Rick’s Cafe.

In quaint and charming Boulder City, snack at sidewalk tables at Dam Roast House &Browder Bookstore, Milo’s Cellar and Jack’s Place.

Finally, some restaurants are just made for alfresco dining, as they’re already participating in nature. The gorgeous cafe space at the Springs Preserve is on hold until fall, removing one option. But there is rocking music and spicy grub under the clouds and stars at Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings south of Las Vegas, and meals can be eaten on patios at the Retreat on Charleston Peak. And then there’s Cottonwood Station Eatery in Blue Diamond on the edge of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The restaurant draws an outdoorsy crowd with its pizzas, pastries and beers.

“It’s so close to Las Vegas, but you feel like you’re stepping back into the Old West, and Red Rock is so unique,” owner Jody Lyman said.

Coincidentally, these three desert eateries are possibly the only restaurants in the area that get visited by wild burros.

“People call to see when they’ll arrive — I tell them 6:15,” Lyman laughed.

There is much more alfresco dining available in Southern Nevada than a single list could ever do justice — think golf course clubhouses to start. Find more on your own outdoor discoveries; sightings of watery mists and brightly colored canvas are key. And patios, naturally.

Contact Greg Thilmont at Follow @gregthilmont on Instagram.